Short Meditations on the Lord’s Prayer: 8. Reliant Praying
Mt 6:11 Give us today our daily bread.
So far in this prayer everything has been God-focused. That is how it always should be, but this is not a far-off God, this is a God who has drawn near and made us part of His family, a God who, within this family, goes by the title, Father, or daddy. Historically of the human family we have always said the father was ‘the bread-winner’, the provider for the family, the one who went out to work to earn money to keep the family while the wife raised the family.
But it is Jesus, acting out his Father’s will, who has earned us a place in this family so that we too can be called children of God (1 Jn 3:1,2), sons (Eph 1:5, Gal 4:6, Rom 8:15) and so we might say it is the Godhead that is our bread-winner, has earned us the right to grow up in this family while they provide for us.
And so this prayer now pivots from the emphasis of the greatness of God and His will being worked out, to our reliance upon Him and, as we shall see there is both a physical and spiritual reliance. First there is no indication that we should spiritualize this verse, so let’s take it at face value first of all, that it means grant us or give us all we need to be physically sustained in this particular day. It is an uncertain word in the original but, as one commentator translates it, “for the coming day.”
When God provided ‘bread’ in the wilderness, the miraculous manna, it was always just ‘for the day’ except on Friday there was double the amount to cater for the Sabbath where there would be none, so they could rest. But mostly the lesson is simply look to the provision for today. The lessons of the back half of the chapter are that we are not to worry about tomorrow but trust God for it.
This does not mean that we don’t need to work for our provision (Prov 12:11,14, 14:23, 1 Thess 4:11, 2 Thess 3:6-10) for the Bible is quite clear about that. No, the message has got to be that we look to the Lord a) to provide the work we need to earn money and b) for Him to bless our work to make us good workers, prosperous and fruitful in all our activities.
This prayer may, in the physical realm, be extended to include blessing on harvests and blessing on all aspects of our food provision that we so often take for granted in supermarkets today. But also as blessing on our personal ‘economy’, our personal finances and the way they are sustained under His watchful eyes, which reminds us to use them wisely and for the blessing of others as well as for ourselves. When these things occur then we find the non-physical things come as well, peace, a sense of wellbeing, and so on, and these things too are part of His provision ‘for the coming day’. Amen.